VICTORY IN CHRIST
By Larry White
There is an important concept in the New Testament scriptures that I would like to talk about today. That is the concept of Victory in Christ.
The term "Victory" is the Greek NIKE (νίκη), which means a complete and conclusive end to a conflict whereby the enemy is utterly vanquished. Conquering and gaining complete supremacy over an opponent.
(Nicodemus = Nike, conqueror of the Demos, the People.)
(What we call our ballistic missiles, Nike Missiles)
(Also what some call our tennis shoes)
I.) The first victory we find in the Bible is the victory won over man by sin and death. This happened in the garden of Eden when Adam sinned for the first time. When this happened, sin and death entered into the world.
Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, inasmuch as all sinned: --
It was as if, in Adam, all of humanity was represented and what Adam did, he did as the entire human race, for he was the entire race at that point. You can see the same principle mentioned by the writer of Hebrews to get a feel for how the Jews viewed their ancestors and the relationship they have to them.
But without any dispute the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there, one of whom it is witnessed that he lives. And, so to say, through Abraham even Levi, who receives tithes, has paid tithes; for he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchizedek met him.
So, we have here in the Jew's way of thinking a person (Levi) being said to have done something before he was born and that something was actually done by his ancestor (Abraham).
Therefore according to Paul, by this one man (Adam) and by his one disobedience, Sin reigned unto Death over all of mankind, because all of mankind sinned when Adam did.
Here, of course we are talking about physical death, for no one is responsible morally for Adam's sin but himself. We suffer the consequences of what our ancestor did, not the guilt. That is why innocent babies can die. Death has always been possible, but not always necessary. When sin entered into the world physical death became the necessary consequence.
Paul says in (1Cor.15:22) "In Adam all die."
So sin and death gained the victory over man, and on top of that, we in our own individual histories compound the problem by practicing sin ourselves and dieing spiritually. (Rom.3:23) "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
And you did he make alive, when you were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest: --
You can see the complete victory sin has had over man in
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good. Jehovah looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that understood, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that does good, no, not one.
The condemnation here against man – if left to take its course without any help from God would, in the resurrection, end in final perdition (destruction) and eternal death.
This is the Death in death. Physical death would be the sealing of that spiritual death caused by sin. This is why Jesus warned the Pharisees about “dieing in your sins”. (Jno.8:24) This is why death was so feared before Jesus came. Without Jesus or the hope of the Messiah, there was no expectation of death being remedied or rectified.
II.) But God has provided a way of salvation and he has provided a savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus came down from Heaven, not as a physical conqueror, but he came to win the hearts and minds of the world and to give his life a ransom (freedom price) for many.
…and charged them that they should not make him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,
"See, my servant whom I have chosen;
My beloved in whom my soul is well pleased:
I will put my Spirit upon him,
And he shall declare judgment to the Gentiles.
He shall not strive, nor cry aloud;
Neither shall any one hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed shall he not break,
And smoking flax shall he not quench,
Till he send forth judgment unto victory.
And in his name shall the Gentiles hope."
This victory he accomplished by means of his own death. Jesus said, “the bread which I give is my flesh which I give for the life of the world.” (Jno.6:51)
And no one has ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, (who is [now] in heaven.) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believes in him may have eternal life.
John the Immerser cried, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”
Jesus overcame the Reign of sin over man by expiating it (atoning for it) by offering himself as a sacrifice for it . Jesus also overcame the Reign of death over man by means of his own death and resurrection.
But we see Jesus, the one who has been made a little lower than the angels because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifies and they that are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,
"I will declare your name unto my brethren,
In the midst of the congregation will I sing your praise."
"I will put my trust in him."
"Behold, I and the children whom God has given me."
Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Christ’s death and resurrection took away the sting of death: the fact that we don’t have to die in our sins. Also he rose to a new powerful spiritual life never to die again, but to be glorified at the right hand of God – the majesty in the heavens.
So in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection we see his victory over everything that held man in bondage. This is the gist of the gospel, as Paul says in (Rom.4:25) Christ, “was delivered up on account of our offences and was raised because of our justification.”
III.) All this overcoming that Jesus did was for our benefit because by faith we can appropriate Christ’s victory to ourselves.
In the course of our lives where we sin and die spiritually, we come to believe in Christ and what he did for us on the cross, then we begin having the victory over sin in our lives. By faith we appropriate his death – to be our death to sin and to the world, and we appropriate his resurrected life – to be our life that we live in the spirit unto God. He makes us one with his death and then makes us one in his life.
Or are you ignorant that all we who were immersed into Christ Jesus were immersed into his death? …
But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has dominion over him no more. For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he lives, he lives unto God. So also you, account yourselves to be really dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.
So in our immersion our old master, our corrupt will or our propensity to sin, is crucified; it does not rule us any more, we choose death to it. And we are made alive in our spirits by the regeneration or new birth. You can see this in (Jno.3) when Jesus says that a man must be born again, and be born of water and of spirit. Also:
…not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior;
…in whom you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with him in immersion, wherein you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, I say, did he make alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses;
This new life is the life of our spirits that we have in Christ. (Rom.8:10) Paul says:
”And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin (Adams) but the spirit is life (zwh) ZOE because of righteousness” (or Justification)
Paul said in Phil.3:10 “…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
What is the power of Christ’s resurrection?
He that has the Son has the life; he that does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
Jesus said in (Jno.14:19) “Because I live you will live also.” Our life that we have in Christ is truly that, it is IN CHRIST. We live spiritually because he lives. He IS our life. When he resurrected he ascended up to glory at the right hand of God on the throne of the universe. He now from that vantage point can communicate his resurrected life through the Spirit to all who believe and obey him.
As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he that eats me, he also shall live because of me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven: not as the fathers ate, and died; he that eats this bread shall live for ever."
This is the same thing Paul says when he shows how very much the victory of Christ has overcome the defeat of Adam.
For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.
So then as through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life.
For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous. And the law came in, so that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace abounded even more: in order that, as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life;
What Christ has done for us exceeds by far everything that Adam and our own sin has worked against us – even to the grave or Hades.
And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwells in you.
That life in our spirits that we have by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit also assures to us the final victory over Death because if we have spiritual life now, we continue to have it when we lay down our bodies.
(v.23) “And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
That is, the buying back of our bodies, our vessels that we could not take with us in an ascension but had to be separated from us in Hades or Sheol (the grave).
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ's, at his coming.
Because we died with Christ and were buried with Christ and are risen with Christ and since we live in Christ and reign in that life in Christ, we will also be glorified with Christ as he was glorified.
If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. For you died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, our life, shall be manifested, then shall you also with him be manifested in glory.
This is far more than our poor human hearts can imagine. Our victory that we have in Christ is more than a victory. This passage in Romans 8, from what we have looked at, is now quoted in the proper context.
And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He that did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies; who is he that condemns? It is Christ Jesus that died, yes rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even as it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our victory is complete in Christ and all we need is more faith to accept what Jesus has accomplished for us. Like Paul says in Romans 6:11, we should account to ourselves that we, like Jesus, are really dead to sin and alive to God. What we see in the risen Jesus at the right hand of God, we should mark it down to our account as being true of us also. And with that faith we will live more victorious lives here and now and abound in our work and service for God.
What more can I say? Everything is in and through and because of Jesus Christ.
His death is ours.
His burial is ours.
His resurrection is ours.
His life is ours.
His glory is ours.
His victory is ours.
Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
That is the question we ask in the gospel invitation at every service. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
(Originally presented as a sermon in Eagle Point OR. February 24, 1985)